Taking run at Roberts

Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Doug Berry is not pleased with Charles Roberts' outburst earlier...

Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Doug Berry is not pleased with Charles Roberts' outburst earlier in the week. (Winnipeg Sun File/Jason Halstead)

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:45 AM ET

Doug Berry is not a big fan of players who stir the pot.

Charles Roberts is not getting off on the right foot with his new coach.

Roberts, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers all-star running back, told the Sun on Tuesday he wants to be traded because the team is interested in signing suspended NFL running back Onterrio Smith.

GM Brendan Taman met with the media yesterday to address the situation and, for the second straight day, laughed it off, just as he usually does when the fickle scatback opens his mouth during the off-season.

If Dave Ritchie were still the Bomber coach, he would have said it's just Charlie being Charlie. Berry, however, wasn't giggling.

The former Montreal Alouettes offensive co-ordinator is peeved because Roberts also believes his touches will decrease under Berry's five-receiver offensive system.

"When somebody says that I'm not committed to the running game and hasn't even talked with me about that, I gotta look that number up," said Berry. "I'm not a person of stats, but I know where to find them."

Berry did just that and the numbers show that the Alouettes handed the ball off more than the Bombers did last season. Berry is perturbed that someone would suggest otherwise.

"Don't tell me I'm not committed to the running game," Berry said in a stern, rising voice. "Don't tell me that I haven't coached the offensive line where Mike Pringle was the tailback rushing for over 1,800 yards in Montreal.

"Don't tell me I wasn't the offensive line coach and running backs coach with Lawrence Phillips in Montreal.

"Don't tell me I wasn't involved with Robert Edwards getting his carries and assisting (Anthony Calvillo) in how to call the plays."

Taman, meanwhile, vowed once again that Roberts is their No. 1 tailback and nothing is going to change that. Even if Smith does sign with the Blue and Gold, it's believed he will return kicks and get only 10 to 15 touches a game on offence.

That could prevent Smith from wanting to sign with the Bombers anyway, but regardless of whether or not the former Minnesota Vikings star decides to play in the CFL this year, Roberts likely will be on the field more this year than he was last season thanks to the ratio.

Taman, however, believes that is beside the point.

"He doesn't like competition -- never has," said Taman. "When (Troy) Mills and (Eric) Blount were here (in 2001), he didn't like it as a rookie. We had to walk him through that a little bit, so we might have to walk him through this."

Taman hinted that Roberts is simply afraid of losing his job to Smith, who was the Vikings rushing leader in 2004.

"We drafted Henri Childs in the Ottawa dispersal draft," said Taman, "and nothing was said at that point."

Roberts didn't return Taman's calls yesterday, but the GM believes the whole situation will blow over eventually.

"This wasn't done to take him out of our program or remove him from our offence. It has nothing to do with it," said Taman. "And maybe I should have communicated that to him before we talked to Onterrio Smith, but, quite frankly, I'm running a football team, not a personal agenda."

Taman did, however, receive a couple of trade offers from rival GMs.

"Two teams e-mailed me and (joked) about it," said Taman.


Videos

Photos